Is Twitter losing the right?

Twitter Parler left and right

If you've been using Twitter over the past week or so -- especially if you're in the UK -- you may have noticed the hashtag #Twexit trending.

This is being used to signal users' intention to abandon Twitter and decamp to upstart rival Parler. So what’s going on here and why?

Parler -- which brands itself as the 'free speech social network' -- has been around since 2018 but only had around 100,000 users up to May last year. It then saw a surge in sign ups from Saudia Arabia following alleged censorship by Twitter of accounts favorable to the Saudi regime.

The latest #Twexit phenomenon has seen a surge in UK users on Parler with around 200,000 new UK accounts registered last weekend. This seems to be driven by Twitter's censoring of accounts, we know about the site's well publicized spat with Donald Trump but the latest wave seems to have been triggered by its banning of controversial commentator Katie Hopkins. Most of those setting up shop on Parler are conservative leaning with several UK government ministers and other Conservative MPs having set up accounts in recent days.

Clearly Parler's free speech approach is appealing to those joining the Twexodus. Though it is worth pointing our that there's a sting in the user agreement for the unwary -- by signing up for an account you promise to indemnify the site for any legal action it may face as a result of something you post.

You may be thinking at this point, what's the problem? If people with right-wing views want their own social network good luck to them. The worry is that we're seeing a Balkanization of social media, an area where it's already far too easy to exist in a bubble of material that supports your own world view.

Of course we already know that Twitter is a poor reflection of the real world -- recent election results prove that -- and to be fair there is, so far, little evidence of the Twexiters actually deleting their Twitter accounts with most choosing to maintain a foot in both camps.

But it will be a sad day if the two sides of the political spectrum end up bunkered on completely separate social networks with no chance of ever seeing dissenting views at all.

Image credit: Stepanza/depositphotos.com

40 Responses to Is Twitter losing the right?

  1. roborodent says:

    Parler -- which brands itself as the 'free speech social network'

    it may be a free speech network - but it is still a business. Let's not kid ourselves - once "free speech" is affecting their revenue, you'll see some tightening in their terms of use.

  2. Tregonsee says:

    There are some of us who barely notice political content on Facebook and Twitter. They are used basically to keep up with family, social organizations, local government such as weather and traffic emergencies, and "tech support" for hobbies, etc. I have a Parler account, but so far it would be useless from that standpoint. Not to say I am not personally politically aware, just that those are not sources of interest or value.

  3. Morrolan says:

    There is no such thing as free speech.

  4. TechFan says:

    Who uses Twitter (minus Trump and all the people that hate him - lol)
    Seriously, I'm fully into IT (it's my life), I don't use it, I don't know any co-workers that use it, no family members.

    It really seems more like a platform for people that feel the need to piss off other people.

    • ℂ𝕒𝕑π•₯π•’π•šπ•ŸπŸπŸπŸ says:

      Twitter can be a usefull tool. I actually have many account that I separate by subject. Like I have a Tech Account for my business where I follow the Microsoft Windows teams, manufacturer like Gigabyte, Asus, ..., Betanews and most of the author from here, and a whole lots of others tech account. It's usefull to get some information. I also have accounts where I follow other Yankees and Raiders fan, and we can discuss during the games. I block everything that is political. So nobody get pissed off.

      OTOH I hate the new design that they implemented last year, it's ugly like hell and is full of ads. There was a Chrome extension that allowed you to get the so-called legacy version. But they cut that off last June 1st. I hate twitter now.

      BTW "Parler" is french for "Speak".

      • Reagan_ConservativeUSA says:

        BTW "Parler" is french for "Speak".

        You mean "talk", "parle" means speak.
        I am just being picky.

    • 1DaveN says:

      I follow probably 12-15 tech writers you're familiar with, another 10-12 well known Microsoft employees, and the Twitter accounts of a bunch of teams like Windows Insider, Azure, etc. 95% on-topic tech, 3% cat photos, 2% other. The beauty of twitter in my opinion is that you can fairly closely limit what you want to see without having to be inundated with irrelevant distractions and advertising. (AdBlock takes care of most of the latter).

      • TechFan says:

        Interesting....
        I'm really getting to the point of not using FaceBook or Flipboard, and drop XM Radio (as I listen to to much news). I find your post interesting, as I might be able to keep up on some of my tech news but limited so the forced BS stuff isn't in my face all the time.

      • 1DaveN says:

        I have a really hard time with Facebook myself, for a variety of reasons - primarily that I'm only interested in a very small amount of what they put in front of me. I use ABP on both, so ads aren't much of an issue either place.

        Can't live without XM, though. Channel 30 is Dave Matthews, 60s on 6, etc. I really try to avoid news, although I do hit CNN at least briefly every day.

      • TechFan says:

        You have good taste in music - I have seen Dave a few times now.
        As for news - I jump Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. However, about 1 year after Trump came into office, I can only do CNN in short spurts, as they are the worse manipulators of the weak minded (IMO).

      • 1DaveN says:

        I'm as liberal as they come, and even I can see the slant CNN puts on everything. However, enough of the stuff on Fox is outright false it goes way beyond "slant" IMO. I'm not sure there's any news outlet that can claim true neutrality, and maybe we don't even want that as long as the news itself is true.

      • TimothyStone says:

        It's not just slant its false info from CNN.

  5. bob442 says:

    "But it will be a sad day if the two sides of the political spectrum end up bunkered on completely separate social networks with no chance of ever seeing dissenting views at all."

    Wake up, we have been there for a long time. Two sides? That sounds a lot like my opinion and everyone else's (that don't count).

    Social media isn't a conduit for free speech, it's one to control it.

    • Reagan_ConservativeUSA says:

      Social media isn't a conduit for free speech, it's one to control it.

      That is an accurate statement.

    • LakotaElf says:

      Yes to control it and they do that very well. Facebook is the worst of them all, as Zuckerburg is money hungry and will allow most things and in some cases all things. They lie and are crooked in my book. I closed my account with them and refuse to go back just as I did twitter. They use your info, block you among other things just for them to make money. Social Media is a has been and the sooner people get away from it the better it will be for them at least./ Shut them all down as you can be very sure the Governments are watching especially, USA, China and Russia....

  6. psycros says:

    When all media has chosen sides then your only option is to patronize the media that at least tolerates your opinion. With 90% of the western media now supporting a radical Marxist-fascist racial supremacy movement people who still believe in democracy and free speech have no choice but to seek those forums that aren't controlled by the thought police. Its worth noting that you only see the heavy-handed censorship being practiced by the left - the right doesn't do this.

    • anchovylover says:

      "With 90% of the western media now supporting a radical, Marxist-fascist, racial supremacy movement"

      I'm deeply concerned about the future harmony of our societies when there are people who truly believe such nonsense.

      • psycros says:

        I deeply concerned that you're either oblivious to reality or simply lying.

      • TechFan says:

        I can't speak for the world news, but in the USA, this is so true. Even Biden is caving to the radical left to get votes.

      • anchovylover says:

        So, you believe 90% of U.S media is now supporting a radical, Marxist-fascist, racial supremacy movement.

        I'm curious who you believe the 10% of honest media are.

      • TheScott says:

        He didn't say the other 10% was honest. In fact, he said they have all chosen sides.

      • Azmodeus says:

        psycho is a poster boy for right wing, thin-skinned hypocrisy, why would you care what he thinks. They need a platform to tell the world how tough they have it and how it's every one else's' fault. Blame the blacks, gays, jews, hispanics, chinese, greenies, academics, ......, blame everyone but yourself. It helps them puff their chest up to put down others. They love to dish it out but then squeal like stuck pigs if they are called out over their obnoxious racism or whatever other hate they are pushing.

    • roborodent says:

      I got banned from Breitbart's Disqus forum for simply posting counter arguments.

    • async2013 says:

      ^this 1000 times correct

      • Ι₯ʇᴉǝpΙΉO says:

        It's that right wing nincompoop Order_66 that blocks everyone he doesn't agree with and runs away from forums where he is too intellectually challenged. That behavior doesn't fit your analogy.

  7. anchovylover says:

    "But it will be a sad day if the two sides of the political spectrum end up bunkered on completely separate social networks"

    I disagree Ian. It will be a great day when the far right and the far left can have their own little echo chambers.
    That way the other 70% of us who are politically neutral or center left/right can peacefully interact without the extremists from both sides yelling and screaming.

    It sounds great actually.

  8. Reagan_ConservativeUSA says:

    You don't have to be on the right to be disgusted at what Twitter, Facebook, Google/youbube, ...etc are doing.
    In previous legal and congressional probes, they argued they are open forums, therefore cannot be regulated by government, as that would constitute censorship.
    Now they are arguing they are publishers, private businesses, therefore have the right to suppress what us shared on their platforms.
    You can't have it both ways.
    Either you are a private business and can decide those you do business with, which I have no problem with that, if they make it clear.
    That would make you also subject to laws that ban discrimination based on belief, religion, political and social affiliation, ....etc.
    Or you you are a public forum, therefore any such actions would consider suppression of speech.
    No matter how you look at it they are wrong.
    If the roles were reversed, you would have seen riots in the streets demanding speech not to be suppressed by those companies if they were controlled by anyone other than the far left hacks controlling them.

    This is not only dangerous, but illegal.
    By selectively supporting silencing opposing opinion because it offends you, you are normalizing that. Remember, that could be used one day against you, and you won't like it.
    Most of us area are already finding other options, Parler is one of them, before them, they tried to smear and sabotage Gab, also Matsodon exists, but not as effective and as open as it claims to be.

    • roborodent says:

      Give me a break about your "Free Speech" whining. You are pretty much saying to me that ISIS should continue to post beheading videos in the name of free speech. Why don't you just go straight to the point and tell us which dangerous right wing nutjob you support and think should continue to be on social media so we can discuss it.

      Shouting nonsense out your window is one thing. Providing a global platform for promoting violence or exploitation of another human being is another. The fact that these global platforms continue to exist without these fringe characters suggests that the people who continue to use these platforms are happy for them to be removed. For a social media business, that is the bottom line - literally.

      • psycros says:

        "Providing a global platform for promoting violence or exploitation of another human being is another."

        So you'd be fine with BLM being blocked from all social media, right?

      • roborodent says:

        Sure if they violate the platforms terms of use. We need to cite specific tweets and posts that violate those terms so we can have proof of bias. They're listed on their website. It isn't hard to find.

  9. Sandra Bo says:

    Tell that to Twitter. It is clearly favors a single side. I use both Twitter and Parler. .

  10. async2013 says:

    Social media is toxic period

  11. MyDisqussion says:

    I recommend justthenews.com. They don't favor one side over the other. They also don't have a huge number of reporters right now, so it takes longer for them to get stories out.

  12. RH says:

    I've always been of the opinion that twitter is for twits.
    Someone says they have x number of "followers" or "retweets" just tells me there are a lot of sad people out there that have nothing to do than follow every little twitter/instagram/facebook etc article.
    Even so called journalist are guilty. It's called laziness. Instead of researching or finding a story they will just say "this story had 100,000 likes" or shares on twitter, as if this is a "story".

  13. Alabama Voter says:

    "people with right-wing views want their own social network" is missing the point. Conservatives are being censored and/or banned on Twitter. As election season in the US heats up, they are choosing to establish roots on a network that will not shadow ban their posts or suspend their accounts because they post something against the narrative Twitter is pushing.

  14. Reagan_ConservativeUSA says:

    There is also Matsodon, although not as attractive to use as Paler or Gab.
    But it does not matter. The media already started demonizing all.

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